Sept. 6, 2015
24 Then Jesus said to his disciples, "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. 25 For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it. 26 What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul? Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul? 27 For the Son of Man is going to come in his Father's glory with his angels, and then he will reward each person according to what he has done.
When Jesus calls, we submit. This verse alone is very clear of the condition required if we want to follow Jesus. Of course in a believers life, this question should only be asked once, and the response should be, undeniable “Yes”. Like we have any choice, if were truly drawn to the Son. After receiving Christ, there will always be that struggle to deny self. Do you agree? A new born christian will not understand this fully, he still wants to do what he or she wants to do. Still under construction... Verse 25 For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it. How can you save your own life? You cant! Only Jesus can save. “but whoever loses his life for me will find it”. Second time here Jesus gives us an option of what it takes to have life, what it means to truly live, Deny yourself, loose your life. For Jesus sake. What good will it do for man to gain the world, but ends up in hell. You know, that “if” question that Jesus is asking. "If anyone would come after me”, If you have been a christian for a long time, do you still need that question asked? What i mean is, when i wake up in the morning, do i ask myself, should I follow Jesus?. Once you have been drawn to the Son, you’re His for life. Life Eternal! We have been chosen, separated from the world. Forgiven, a new life! In Christ.
When i said separated, what i mean is that, Jesus is now telling us and showing us how we should live our lives. Through scriptures and convictions. Yes...convictions! Without being convicted of our mistakes, how can we be conformed into His likeness? Just look back at your old life before Christ, and look at your life now. Has anything changed? Only you can answer that. If you look at your Bible, its all about instructions, commands from God, How to live a Holy life. Being transformed. Why do you think Jesus calls for disciples? Why were they sent everywhere to preach the Gospel. Have you ever noticed the headings of some of the books. Its addressed to churches, to another disciple, for what? For instructions. Have you ever heard of the acronym, of what the Bible stands for? And of course its not biblical, but it does have some truth in it.
Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth ( Please add to power point, thanks.)
Through out our Christian walk, God commands separation, you will see a lot of that in scripture. From being slaves to sin, to slaves of God. Dead to sin, alive in Christ. Death in Adam, Alive in Christ. God will always command us to separate from certain things.
2 Corinthians 6:14-18
14 Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness? 15 What harmony is there between Christ and Belial ? What does a believer have in common with an unbeliever. 16 What agreement is there between the temple of God and idols? For we are the temple of the living God. As God has said: "I will live with them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be my people." 17 "Therefore come out from them and be separate, says the Lord. Touch no unclean thing, and I will receive you." 18 "I will be a Father to you, and you will be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty.
( Belial is another name for satan)
We have a lot in common with the church in Corinth, at one point we were idolaters, we followed false prophets, we followed false teachings. Until Jesus reveals our errors by knowing the Truth. Always separating us from the things that are not pleasing to our God. Isn’t that the goal of every believer? To please our God. And this is something that we cannot do on our own. These are the things that we are so used to doing... second nature. Doing the opposite of Gods will. That is why being a new creation comes in. Being transformed into the likeness of Christ. Don’t you just wish sometimes, that when we were drawn to the Son, that all of our memories of our past also disappeared? When we became a new creation, don’t you wish that all the bad stuff was gone, erased from our memory? If that were to happen, how would we know how to turn away from them? I tell you, life is a lesson everyday. Always a battle, there are times that its really painful, and times that brings nothing but joy. But there is always a lesson that brings God all the glory. Every lesson we go through, brings us closer and closer to God. Being transformed closer to the image of His Son. Of course that is the goal of why we were saved. To be like Christ. I guess that’s what Jesus meant when He said “take up your cross and follow Me”.
Sin is an everyday battle don’t you think? Whether we are at home, the things we watch on t.v. Social media, being online. Or just by being bored, your mind wonders. Whether by action or thought, sin is still sin! Scripture tells us that...
The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction.
Again, remember...Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth. “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge”, In another translation, beginning of wisdom.
Sadly not many fear the Lord anymore. Many believers have used scripture as an excuse to go on sinning. See if this sounds familiar...
I’m saved by grace..(Ephesians 2:8)
God knows i am going to sin just ask for forgiveness...(1 John 1:9)
Uses Romans 7 because I’m still in the flesh, but neglects to read chapter Romans 8, living in the Spirit. We can come up with all the excuses we can, use scripture to justify our mistakes. But no excuse will be accepted when we stand in front of a Holy God...None!!! We will all stand in front of our Lord one day, and give an account for the things that we did when we were called. Earlier i said, nobody fears the Lord anymore. We have all relied on asking for forgiveness whenever we make a mistake. That is biblical, and that is what we are suppose to do when we sin. One message that Pastor Julius delivered, he used this verse...
26 If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left, 27 but only a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God. 28 Anyone who rejected the law of Moses died without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. 29 How much more severely do you think a man deserves to be punished who has trampled the Son of God under foot, who has treated as an unholy thing the blood of the covenant that sanctified him, and who has insulted the Spirit of grace? 30 For we know him who said, "It is mine to avenge; I will repay," and again, "The Lord will judge his people." 31 It is a dreadful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.
“ If we deliberately keep on sinning”. Honestly, how many of us have done this, deliberately. Before Jesus came along and showed us the seriousness of this offense! That is why, Jesus said “deliberately keep on sinning”. There needs to be a time that we should stop. Our God is merciful, we are still in the transformation process. We are being renewed, through convictions.
4 But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, 5 made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions--it is by grace you have been saved.
What did we read earlier about grace?
How much more severely do you think a man deserves to be punished who has trampled the Son of God under foot, who has treated as an unholy thing the blood of the covenant that sanctified him, and who has insulted the Spirit of grace?
Our God is merciful, He is patient, but most of He will not be mocked!
7 Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows.
8 The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction; the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life.
God cannot be mocked! When we were called, we were called to be transformed to the image of His Son. What is the image of His Son? Perfection!!! Not only is our God perfect, but He demands His children to be perfect.
Jesus said on...
Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.
1 Peter 1:15-16
15 But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; 16 for it is written: "Be holy, because I am holy."
( Please add both verses in one screen, thank you)
A quote from John MacArthur:
Only the most arrogant fool would claim to be perfectly holy. Yet perfect holiness is the only standard acceptable to God. For that reason it becomes obvious that, apart from God’s graciously granting that holiness, no man can hope to achieve it.
Only by the grace of God can we achieve what He demands. We cannot do this on our own. And God does not fail, we are the clay, He is the potter. He will be the One to mold us to that perfection. Only in Gods hands is that possible! We may not see it now, but He has seen the finished product.
1 John 3:1-3
1 How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him. 2 Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when he appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. 3 Everyone who has this hope in him purifies himself, just as he is pure.
We are still being transformed. Either, we are a slave to sin or a slave to righteousness. Either one, we have to have a master, which one would it be? The title of this message is “Leaving It All Behind”. If God has already released us, cleansed us from our sins. Then why would we want to go back? Deliberately... Leave it behind, let it go. Because going back to it, is the opposite way of where God wants us to be. The goal is perfection, not the other way around. Could you imagine standing in front of Jesus one day, and this is what He says... Remember this verse?
21 "Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22 Many will say to me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?' 23 Then I will tell them plainly, 'I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!'
Jesus is talking about Christians here, who else would call Him Lord? Whats missing here? “did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles”. What is missing here, why did Jesus say “I never knew you”?
Two things here...”Did not do” the Fathers will, second no repentance. See the last part of the verse...”away from Me, you evildoers”. They went through the motion here, accepted Jesus as Savior, that is why they call Him Lord. With that alone, if you accepted Jesus in your heart, and he lives inside you and I. Why would Jesus contradict the Fathers will? Joined ministries, faithful in attending church, but still, something is missing...They were never called. “but only he who does the will of my Father”. Its a hard journey, isn’t it? Being a christian? That’s probably why Paul said, “workout your salvation with fear and trembling”. ( Phil 2:12) I guess this also what Jesus meant when He said “pick up your cross and follow me”.
I can honestly say, in my opinion, it is a hard and joyful journey. Hard, because we have to go through challenges, fight the temptations, accept the discipline when needed be. Joyful because, we know that we are not going through it alone. Jesus is with us always, “I will never leave you, nor forsake you”. Through the hard times, it brings us closer and closer to Jesus, not just in His likeness, but also in His presence. Leave it all behind, because Jesus does not want us to stay there. Jesus is bringing us to eternity. Just like that song..I have decided to follow Jesus, no turning back, no turning back.
"If you love me, you will obey what I command.
The proof of loving God is not just in speech for others to hear, but more of a living obedience to His will. How we live our lives outside those church doors will determine how much of this verse is true in our lives.
1 John 5:3
3 This is love for God: to obey his commands. And his commands are not burdensome.
“His commands are not burdensome”. We have been born again, this is part of the new life that God has given. A life for His purpose, His will be done!!! “Why do you call me Lord, Lord and not do what i say”. ( Luke 6:46 ) Just like our previous verse when Jesus said, “I never knew you, away from Me, you evildoer”. We live and breathe, only by Gods commands. He is the One that holds our life. It is by His will, that we are here tonight. “His commands are not burdensome”. “I have been crucified with Christ, I no longer live, but Christ lives in me”. Christ lives in me! So why would His commands be burdensome? The only reason we live and breathe is because of Christ!
6 being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.
God is faithful to finish what He starts. Once we have been called, the work of sanctification begins. It starts with Jesus, and ends with Jesus for all eternity. “ I am the Alpha and the Omega, Beginning and the end”. No turning back...leave it all behind. “pick up your cross, and follow Me”.